It’s no secret that everybody loves to eat yogurt. It’s such a quick and easy snack to enjoy and can even make a mini meal when combined with just the right toppings. Yogurt fans will be excited to know that if you start with the right kind of yogurt (namely a plain yogurt with live, active bacteria), you can actually make batch after batch of the stuff yourself right in your own kitchen, and all you need is whole milk and your trusty Instant Pot. And yes, that really is all it takes: an Instant Pot, a bit of yogurt, a whole lot of milk … and a lot of patience — but that’s it! The end result will be so worth the effort — we promise.
To enjoy a quick and easy breakfast or snack you’ll absolutely love to prepare on the regular, chef and recipe developer Liz Capozzoli of Owl Baking says you can enjoy this yogurt plain or incorporate delicious flavorings such as honey, fresh fruit, or granola … or all three. Just make sure not to serve every last bit of it. "Don’t forget to store or freeze a small portion of finished yogurt to use as your starter for next time," Capozzoli notes.
And whatever you do, don’t skip the careful sanitization process before you get started, or you’ll not only waste your time and ingredients, but you’ll end up with something pretty foul instead of something downright delicious and, not to mention, nutritious.
Sanitize your equipment with care
The first important job in making this recipe is a multi-step process in which you will sanitize your equipment. It’s best to do this right inside the Instant Pot so that the Instant Pot bowl also becomes sanitized. Note that you can also use a pot of boiling water instead, as long as you boil your tools for 10 minutes. Either way, Capozzoli stresses, "Make sure everything is well cleaned."
Place a silicone spatula or large metal spoon (do not use wood), a heat-proof glass measuring cup, and metal tablespoon measure inside the Instant Pot on top of the wire trivet, and then add 2 cups of water. Place the top on in the seal position, and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for three full minutes.
When the time is up, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release. Once it does, carefully remove the lid, and allow the equipment to cool down for 10 minutes. You should also submerge the tip of the thermometer into the hot water for a minute or two to get it as clean as possible too.
Finally, carefully remove the items from the Instant Pot by touching the handles only. Set them all to the side, and let everything (including the inner pot) come down to room temperature.
Cook the milk in the Instant Pot
To begin making your homemade yogurt, pour the whole milk (Note that using whole milk will result in the creamiest yogurt possible.) into the cleaned and cooled inner pot of the Instant Pot, then place the lid on top. Next, press the "Yogurt" button until it reads "Boil" on the display panel.
Allow the Instant Pot to cook the milk, which should take about 30 to 40 minutes. When this is ready, the display should read "YOGT." Now, using an instant read thermometer, check that the milk is 180 to 200 F. If it’s not at that temperature, heat the milk again with the "Slow Cook Less" function for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Next, carefully remove the inner pot, and set it to the side. Allow the milk to cool down for about an hour until it reaches 110 to 112 F. If you happen to notice a skin that developed on top of the milk, you can remove it using the sanitized spatula. It is totally normal for a skin to form on top, but it’s best removed and discarded before you move to the next step.
Combine the cooked milk and yogurt starter
Once the milk is sufficiently cooled and ready, pour ½ to 1 cup of the milk into the sanitized measuring cup. Next, add the 2 large tablespoons of yogurt to the milk, and stir well to incorporate them. This step helps to temper the yogurt.
Pour the milk and yogurt mixture into the larger pot with the remaining milk, and stir to combine them. Place the lid back on the Instant Pot, and hit the "Yogurt" button again until it displays "8:00," indicating an 8-hour timer. As an option, Capozzoli says, "You can also use a regular stainless steel or glass pot lid when making the yogurt. If there are any hidden odors lurking in the silicone ring of the Instant Pot lid, this will absorb into your yogurt. Using a regular pot lid will ensure there’s no chance of this happening. You no longer need to use the pressure settings, so using a regular pot lid is fine."
Now it’s time to allow the Instant Pot to cook the yogurt-milk mixture for at least eight hours. Note that the display will count the time up, not down.
Chill the finished yogurt, then enjoy
When the yogurt is ready, remove the lid from the Instant Pot. You should see that all of the milk has thickened, and there will be a noticeable separation of yogurt and whey around the perimeter of the bowl. Stir the yogurt until it has a smooth texture, then scoop the yogurt out of the pot and into a resealable container.
Now it’s time to refrigerate your delicious yogurt for at least four hours before serving. "The yogurt will thicken once chilled," says Capozzoli. "Yogurt will generally have a thin consistency. To thicken it (to make Greek-style yogurt, for example), you can strain the yogurt overnight in the fridge using a yogurt strainer or sieve lined with cheesecloth."
Either way, the yogurt will last up to two weeks in the refrigerator, and again, remember to save a bit for the next batch that you want to make at home.
How to serve your Instant Pot yogurt
The fun part about making homemade yogurt, is you can really make a nice presentation when serving it. Consider getting out some fun glass bowls to scoop your yogurt into, then create your masterpiece with your favorite toppings. You can even set up a yogurt station and let everyone put their yogurt parfaits together on their very own.
Homemade yogurt is fun to prepare as a sweet addition to a brunch buffet, or to plan to whip up for breakfast for overnight weekend guests you may have. But homemade yogurt doesn’t have to be prepared for a special occasion, it’s just a convenient food item to have handy in the fridge for any time and day of the week.
Once you get used to making your own homemade yogurt, we’re pretty sure you won’t ever want store-bought yogurt again!
- ½ gallon whole milk
- 2 tablespoons plain yogurt with live and active cultures
- Sanitize your equipment.
- To begin making the yogurt, pour the whole milk into the cooled inner pot. Place the lid on top, then hit the "Yogurt" button until it reads "Boil" on the display.
- Allow the Instant Pot to cook the milk. This should take about 30 to 40 minutes, and when ready, the display should read "YOGT."
- Using an instant read thermometer, check that the milk is 180 to 200 F. If it’s not, heat the milk with the "Slow Cook Less" function for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Carefully remove the inner pot, and set it aside and allow the milk to cool down for about 1 hour until it reaches 110 to 112 F. If you notice a skin that developed on top of the milk, remove it using the sanitized spatula.
- Once the milk is ready, pour ½ to 1 cup of the milk into the sanitized measuring cup, then add the yogurt, and stir to incorporate.
- Pour the milk and yogurt mixture into the larger pot with the remaining milk, and stir.
- Place the lid back on the Instant Pot, and hit the "Yogurt" button again until it displays "8:00," indicating an 8-hour timer. Allow the Instant Pot to cook the yogurt-milk mixture for at least 8 hours.
- When ready, remove the lid. You should see that all of the milk has thickened, and there will be a noticeable separation of yogurt and whey around the perimeter of the bowl. Stir the yogurt until it has a smooth texture, then scoop the yogurt out of the pot and into a re-sealable container.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.